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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2006 > Champions Tour > Boeing Greater Seattle Classic > Round 3


Tom Kite wins in playoff

Tom Kite took advantage of a wildly erratic Keith Fergus, who hit two spectators and the cartpath three separate times Sunday during the one-hole playoff, to win the Boeing Greater Seattle Classic.

Kite, who began the day three behind second-round leader Don Pooley, shot a 6-under 66 to finish with a three-day score of 15-under 201. Fergus started five shots behind Pooley and reached 15-under with a 64.

Kite birdied the first playoff hole, the par-5, 554-yard No. 18, while Fergus bogeyed. It was Kite's ninth career Champions Tour victory -- third in a playoff -- and a $240,000 first-place check.

Pooley had a chance to join the playoff but missed a 14-foot birdie try on 18. He finished with a 70, one back in a group with Scott Simpson (69), Wayne Levi (66), David Edwards (66) and Tom Jenkins -- who had an 11-under 61, his career low. Jenkins' nine-birdie, one-eagle round matched the course record set Saturday by Simpson.

With five holes to play, seven players were tied at 14-under on the TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge course. Kite then broke from the pack with a birdie on No. 15. At the same time, Fergus was finishing his round with a birdie on 18, just missing an eagle.

"I knew I had to keep rolling in birdies," Kite said.

With his approach on No. 16 just 8 feet from the pin, Kite rolled in his third straight birdie to take the lead again at 16-under. But he three-putted from 67 feet on the par-three 17th for a bogey, falling back to 15-under. He closed with a par, getting a break when given relief on his second shot because his backswing was affected by a tree stake. He missed his birdie try by 3 inches.

"Going into the playoff, I felt like I was at a disadvantage because Fergie is one of the longest hitters on the Tour," Kite said.

But Fergus had finished nearly an hour earlier and might have lost his rhythm.

"Anytime you sit around for an hour or so, it's out of the norm," Fergus said. "But I tell you what, you give me that chance anytime. I would have sat around for two hours."

Both players' playoff drives were within 235 yards from the green. But Fergus, using a three-iron on his second shot, pulled out of it. It hit the cartpath and caromed into the right-side grandstands. A spectator, with a drink in one hand and his cap in another, caught it in his cap then quickly dropped it on the hill.

"I wish he would have let it go because it was so slick over there that it probably would have rolled into a better position than it was," Fergus said. "That's just a reaction. He might have thought it would have helped me."

Fergus had to drop on the steep hill then chunked his chip against the cartpath curb. It bounced up the hill again, hitting a fan's leg then rolled back onto the cartpath.

"I had no green (to work with) and I knew Tom was probably going to make birdie so I had to hit a miraculous shot," he said. "I took a chance and I just didn't do it."

Kite hit his second shot in the back bunker then blasted to within 3 feet of the pin.

Pooley held a one-shot lead over Simpson and Massy Kuramoto to begin the day. He opened with an eagle-three on the first hole to take a two-shot lead on the field. Kuramoto bogeyed three of his first five holes to ease out of competition.

Pooley and Simpson exchanged the lead a couple times while Kite and Fergus methodically chased them. Simpson took the lead on No. 8 when he holed out from the sand for an eagle-three. However, a two-shot swing on No. 10 put Pooley back ahead by one before he stumbled on 13 with a double-bogey on the relatively easy 210-yard par-three.

Pooley's tee shot drifted left into the tall grass and had trouble finding his ball. He finally tried hitting a ball out, but it barely moved. He quickly realized that it was not his ball. He eventually found his ball, took a drop and by the time he finished the hole his lead was gone for good.


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